We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Supermarkets during Passover

Walnut Creek...
Level Contributor
535 posts
338 reviews
Save Topic
Supermarkets during Passover

When I visited the supermarket across the street from my hotel in Tel Aviv a few days ago (the hotel was the Crowne Plaza City Center), I noticed many aisles covered with plastic sheets. Am I correct in guessing that this identified items which weren't kosher for Passover? And were these sheets there mainly to assist those keeping a kosher table from avoiding those items, or is it actually forbidden to sell these items during Passover? In other words, if I reached behind these plastic sheets and picked up the item and put it in my cart, would the check-out lady refuse to sell it to me?

Jerusalem
Destination Expert
for Jerusalem, Israel
Level Contributor
3,495 posts
66 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Supermarkets during Passover

Firstly, you're quite right that the items behind the sheets are those that are not kosher for Passover.

The only legal prohibition (in Jewish-owned businesses - a loaded concept in its own right) is against DISPLAYING "leavened items" as defined in Orthodox Jewish law. In THEORY, at least, there is no prohibition against selling them.

The answer to your last question depends mainly on where you were and on the religious and social views of the check-out lady/gentleman. The more the individual is not Orthodox themselves (or IS Orthodox, but committed to a live-and-let-live pluralism), and/or the less religious the area as a whole, the more likely you could "get away" with your desired item.

Like most things in life, you can't always expect logic and consistency. Today I was in a small shop in a fairly traditional part of Jerusalem where many items were carefully tucked away behind plastic sheets, but bottles of beer (which is "leavened") were out on display for anyone to see and, I assume, purchase.

israel
Destination Expert
for Tel Aviv, Galilee, Israel
Level Contributor
15,219 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Supermarkets during Passover

The sheets are to tell people that the items behind them are not kosher for Passover. It is not forbidden to sell those items but we try to respect each other and not buy them. But if you reach out and take an item you'll be able to pay for it and take it with you. If one takes an item that is clearly not Kosher for Passover like crackers or pasta I am sure people will remark on that and he might be stopped and not allowed to buy it. Otherwise those that observe kashrut will not buy there.

There are supermarkets that are not kosher and there you can buy whatever you like including not kosher meat.

Edited: 24 April 2011, 20:45
Thousand Oaks...
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
12,954 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Supermarkets during Passover

There is kosher for passover beer.

Generally, the cooking vessels are prepared in advance for passover and the beer process itself is changed. Instead of using malt, the brewers use honey or molasses.

The talmud itself references 4 types of beer which include date beer, and beer made of barley, fig, and berries.

Dr. Z

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
38,326 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Supermarkets during Passover

PRSV--you responded from an Israeli, non Orthodox POV and thus mixed Israeli law and Jewish law.

Jewish law prohibits a Jew from OWNING any chumitz ( non-Passover) items on Passover. The items that are covered are not only not Kosher for Passover they are not owned by the Jewish owner of the business. He sells them before Passover. to a non-Jew. Therefore since the products are NOT his, HE can't sell them. ( you can only sell something which belongs to you)

If you were to reach around and the store were to sell them to you--it would make a sham of the pre-Passover sale of all Chumitz in the store to the non-Jew. I would venture to guess ( and this is a guess) that the cash register would not allow you to check the items out. ( don't forget, everything is scanned, the casher doesn't enter prices)

BTW before someone says that this pre-Passover sale to a non-Jew is not real--I'll tell a story. Periodically, the Rabbis in my Queens neighborhood have gotten annoyed that some people didn't take the sale with proper seriousness. So, they will go to someone's house, along with the non-Jew who bought the Chumitz and the non-Jew will go in and take some of his Chumitz. ( usually it is a bottle of liquor or something like that) The Jew can't say a word--the bottle doesn't belong to him and the non-Jew is within his right.

And now I'll leave religion alone. Anyone who wants any more details on how it works--PM me.

BTW there IS such a thing as Kosher for Passover beer.

jewishworldreview.com/kosher/passover_beer.p…

Jerusalem
Destination Expert
for Jerusalem, Israel
Level Contributor
3,495 posts
66 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Supermarkets during Passover

Firstly, the question was about the reality of life in Israel, and that's how I answered.

And if we're on Passover stories on this matter - the really fun (and true) story is about the non-Jew who decided to exercise his right to keep the Chametz ....

vosizneias.com/82022/2011/04/22/jerusalem-ch…

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
38,326 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Supermarkets during Passover

PRSV--good story! It is my example times a whole community. Hey, as I said--it IS a sale and that is that!!! It is NOT symbolic!!

In terms of your response--yes, you answered about the reality but then some of the statements you made were factually ( in terms of Judaism) incorrect. It is nothing to do with Chumitz on display. THAT is Israeli law, not Jewish law!

israel
Destination Expert
for Tel Aviv, Galilee, Israel
Level Contributor
15,219 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Supermarkets during Passover

THe reality is tha if you take a non-kosher-for Passover item the cash register will scan it and you can pay and take it with you. There was an idea to change the register to not accept the item but it proved to be to expensive and complicated. Only if soneone takes an item that stands out as non-Passover he might be stopped. This is the reality of living in Israel, many many contradictions.

Walnut Creek...
Level Contributor
535 posts
338 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Supermarkets during Passover

My goodness, that's complicated! I got dizzy just trying to understand it. So does the non-Jew make a profit for providing this "service" of owning the Chumitz, or is this generally just done among friends as a personal favor? I would imagine that buying all of those products would involve a tidy sum. Do private individuals have to do this as well? None of my Jewish friends has ever asked me to do such a thing, although I don't think any are Orthodox. I don't suppose Conservative Jews have to do this?

I must say I'm going to have to be more careful the next time I visit Israel. I don't even know Christian traditions well enough. I thought I would be safe visiting Jerusalem and Bethlehem on Thursday. I knew Good Friday was a big deal for Christians, but I didn't realize Thursday was a big deal as well. Apparently I also hit a year in which the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Armenian/Oriental Orthodox calendars all coincided as well. At least this atheist received a very thorough religious education on his trip to the Middle East, unintentional as it may have been. Thank you all for assisting in my education...

Israel
Level Contributor
2,650 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Supermarkets during Passover

lebelgo,

According to the Torah and halacha, owning (not just eating) chametz is forbidden during Pesach. So you can either get rid of it (eat it before Pesach, or throw it out), or sell it to someone. Usually, synaogues offer to buy their congregants' chametz, and then sell the whole lot to a non-Jew, although individuals may do this. I have no idea what your Conservative friends do, but just because they haven't sold their chametz to you doesn't mean they did not sell it at all. Why don't you ask them?

About buying chametz during Passover: As rdglady said, if the store has sold its chamtez to a non-Jew, then if you sneak the chametz out of the covered areas and take it to the register and buy it from the store owner, it isn't his to sell you. By doing this, you are basically stealing from the non-Jew to whom the chametz was sold. Regardless of our individual levels of observance of Pesach dietary restrictions, I think we can all agree that stealing is wrong. If you really must buy chametz during Passover, there are non-kosher stores where you can purchase such items properly.

Chiclayo, Peru
Level Contributor
805 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Supermarkets during Passover

The restrictions on personal ownership and use are religious and not written into law at all -- that is, they're entirely optional. The sums that change hands are very small; a synagogue may sell their entire congregation's chametz for 1 shekel, of course with the unwritten understanding that they'll get it all back after Passover. Many ultra-Orthodox families prefer to burn their chametz as a pre-Passover ritual. Conservative (and many Reform) Jews also observe all of these rules, but they often simply put their chametz in a locked cupboard in their house during Passover and not bother with "selling" it.

The law comes in when a supermarket or food stores wishes to be certified kosher; to do this, they of course can't sell any non-kosher items, and they have to abide by all of the Orthodox strictures regarding Passover. So if they sell forbidden items during Passover, they run the risk of losing their kosher certification. The reality is that many will let you get away with it, as long as you look like a tourist and don't make it too obvious.